Working from Home – The First Month

I have now been self-employed and working from home for almost one month.  Prior to this I spent the last 25 years working in huge, open-plan Trading floors of Banks and Broking companies surrounded by 100-400 ‘close colleagues’.  To all intents and purposes a battery hen leashed to the desk by a length of telephone cable.

Now, my home is my office.

So how does working from home feel?  What are the differences, good and bad?

Clearly I no longer commute (this is good).
I don’t object to using public transport, I just don’t like using it at the same time as the rest of the population of London.  Continue Reading →

Being Five Years Old – Part One

Five Years Old CandleSon 3 is the magical age of 5, just on the verge of turning into a miniature person with his own preferences, ideas and friendships.

Being Five there is a simple rhythm to your life, your school days are all the same, no nasty exams or tests, you just turn up and see what has been laid on for the day.  You don’t need (and can’t use a watch), your days are punctuated by play times and lunch.  At the end of the day (well, 3.30pm), you have a play date or watch TV.  These rhythmic days roll up into school terms that ebb and flow with the seasons. Birthday parties, School fairs, Sports Day.  All come and go, year after year.  Being Five you will have forgotten what the last event was like, so all these events seem fresh and exciting when they come around.

Although I had my two older sons very close together, Son 3 didn’t pop along until more than 10 years later.  Being an older (and now unemployed!) Mum, and having such a large age gap, has made this age more enjoyable and yet more poignant for me.

Short of someone appearing on Dragon’s Den with a ‘Grow Your Own Baby’ kit, I know that Son 3 is my last child. After 30 years of potential motherhood it is over for me.  I can’t remember Continue Reading →

2013 – What did I learn?

I didn’t expect much from 2013, just another year grinding away in the same old job 11 hours a day, a bit of commuting and then all my ‘real life’ squeezed in to the periphery.  I knew I was fed up,  I even hoped that I would be made redundant to spur me into changing my life, but each round of redundancies left me untouched, sitting, staring at my wall of computer screens.

My back ached all day, every day, from being slumped in front of a screen for more than 20 years.  For 18 months I had physio for my knees, knees that simply didn’t work anymore as my legs had forgotten how to work properly.  My physio pointed out that I wasn’t alone, I am part of the first generation who have sat still for decades, we are the guinea pigs that prove that technology might save time and headcount, but when you reach the point of conducting your whole life from a screen then you are no longer living your life…or using your body parts.

Unemployed…kind of…

So, here I am, ‘technically unemployed’, happy about it and clueless about what comes next.
I say ‘technically unemployed’ as I am in the very enviable position of having 3 months ‘Gardening Leave’ where I am paid, but not required to attend work. Thankfully, neither am I obliged to do actual Gardening.  It is late October, the grass needs cutting and there are leaves all over the place.  I feel able to ignore the garden as none of my plants were uprooted in the ‘Great Storm of St Jude’, which in South West London was more of a huge gust of wind at about 7am on Monday morning, rather than a storm.
 I was very grateful to stay in bed and just lie there listening to it all.  Just a few weeks ago I would have been battling to leave the house by 6.30am and drive through the storm, just to sit at my desk at 7am and pretty much do nothing all day.  The environment was one where it was seen as a weakness if you cannot get to work for any reason, illness, trees on the line, tube strikes, hurricanes, you name it, no excuse was acceptable because ultimately we were all trying to prove that we were more focussed and dedicated than the next man or woman (but usually man).
It has been a bizarre 9 months of my life.  Continue Reading →